Help! My New Guinea Pig Is Being Bullied

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Pig_mum

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I have two guinea pigs, Primrose (1 year and 2 months old) and Jemima (approx. 6 years old). I adopted Jemima with another guinea pig, Gordon, from Woodgreen Animal Shelter 4 years ago and due to a number of health complications, Gordon died in February 2016. So in the April of 2016, we got Primrose as a new companion for Jemima.

With the age gap being so large and Primrose being so young and spritely, we felt bad that she was stuck with our old grumpy lady guinea pig, Jemima, who doesn't want to play and is very dominant (especially when it comes to food). Jemima has never been particularly caring or bonded to either Gordon or Primrose and she has quite a 'bolshy' personality. She was quite 'nippy' when we first got Primrose, but then settled down and accepted her. Due to many things going on in our lives, it has taken us a year to finally be able to commit to getting a third guinea pig who can keep up with Primrose.

The other month I saw a lady on Facebook who's guinea pig had just a litter. Sure enough, she had a little girl guinea pig who was needing a home. We visited her with Primrose and Jemima and they seemed to get on well when in the outdoor run together. We waited until she was 7 weeks old and went to collect her on Wednesday evening. Again, she seemed to get on with Primrose and Jemima and we took her home. We put them in the run in our garden and the behaviour seemed fine. Typical butt-sniffing, following her around, etc, etc.

We may have made a mistake here, but that night we put them all together in their indoor C&C cage, which had been cleaned out, disinfected and set up with clean bedding. The new guinea pig seemed quite cautious (as expected) and hid under the wooden bendy arches we have for them. I fed them some food which she ate and I left them to it. On Thursday morning I noticed that Primrose and Jemima were being quite dominant with her, but luckily my mum has time off work, so she had been keeping an eye on them while I was at work. When I got home, I saw that they would lay across the front of the wooden arch so that the little one was blocked in at the back. Then I noticed that whenever the new guinea pig went near them, they'd give her a nip (or a warning nip - I'm not quite sure if they actually bit her), or they'd go up to her, look as though they were sniffing her and then give her a nip.

Having read some more posts on bonding new guinea pigs, I'm starting to feel quite ignorant and slightly worried that we've done the wrong thing by introducing this little one. I feel so bad that we've taken her away from her mum and now she's having a rough time with our two, but the selfish part of me wants to keep her as she is adorable and has a lovely personality (she makes little curious nosies when she feels brave enough to explore the cage and is so good when you handle her). I'm quite surprised at my guinea pig Primrose as I always thought she was a less dominant, more friendly guinea pig. Is it possible that she's learnt this kind of behaviour from Jemima?

I'd really appreciate any advice anyone has. Is it worth us sticking it out and seeing if they will eventually accept her? Or is having three sows a no-no?

(I've attached a pic of the new little piggy - isn't she so cute?! Her mum is Abyssinian and her dad is long haired)

18891643_10211179914266033_1157429228825435453_o.jpg
 

Wiebke

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I have two guinea pigs, Primrose (1 year and 2 months old) and Jemima (approx. 6 years old). I adopted Jemima with another guinea pig, Gordon, from Woodgreen Animal Shelter 4 years ago and due to a number of health complications, Gordon died in February 2016. So in the April of 2016, we got Primrose as a new companion for Jemima.

With the age gap being so large and Primrose being so young and spritely, we felt bad that she was stuck with our old grumpy lady guinea pig, Jemima, who doesn't want to play and is very dominant (especially when it comes to food). Jemima has never been particularly caring or bonded to either Gordon or Primrose and she has quite a 'bolshy' personality. She was quite 'nippy' when we first got Primrose, but then settled down and accepted her. Due to many things going on in our lives, it has taken us a year to finally be able to commit to getting a third guinea pig who can keep up with Primrose.

The other month I saw a lady on Facebook who's guinea pig had just a litter. Sure enough, she had a little girl guinea pig who was needing a home. We visited her with Primrose and Jemima and they seemed to get on well when in the outdoor run together. We waited until she was 7 weeks old and went to collect her on Wednesday evening. Again, she seemed to get on with Primrose and Jemima and we took her home. We put them in the run in our garden and the behaviour seemed fine. Typical butt-sniffing, following her around, etc, etc.

We may have made a mistake here, but that night we put them all together in their indoor C&C cage, which had been cleaned out, disinfected and set up with clean bedding. The new guinea pig seemed quite cautious (as expected) and hid under the wooden bendy arches we have for them. I fed them some food which she ate and I left them to it. On Thursday morning I noticed that Primrose and Jemima were being quite dominant with her, but luckily my mum has time off work, so she had been keeping an eye on them while I was at work. When I got home, I saw that they would lay across the front of the wooden arch so that the little one was blocked in at the back. Then I noticed that whenever the new guinea pig went near them, they'd give her a nip (or a warning nip - I'm not quite sure if they actually bit her), or they'd go up to her, look as though they were sniffing her and then give her a nip.

Having read some more posts on bonding new guinea pigs, I'm starting to feel quite ignorant and slightly worried that we've done the wrong thing by introducing this little one. I feel so bad that we've taken her away from her mum and now she's a rough time with our two, but the selfish part of me wants to keep her as she is adorable and has a lovely personality (she makes little curious nosies when she feels brave enough to explore the cage and is so good when you handle her). I'm quite surprised at my guinea pig Primrose as I always thought she was a less dominant, more friendly guinea pig. Is it possible that she's learnt this kind of behaviour from Jemima?

I'd really appreciate any advice anyone has. Is it worth us sticking it out and seeing if they will eventually accept her? Or is having three sows a no-no?

(I've attached a pic of the new little piggy - isn't she so cute?! Her mum is Abyssinian and her dad is long haired)

View attachment 65498
Your little one is a beauty.

Please sit it out!

It is very normal to emphatically put a youngster at the bottom of the existing hierarchy after they lose their protected baby status once they are weaned. Even mums do it. Dominance with youngsters is generally on the hard, but short side. It is not pleasant to watch; I am always glad when this phase is over.
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
 

David Piggie Lover

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Phew. Heart ache and i wish you all the best. Advise you get off people here is brilliant. Wiebke is a saint. Your baby piggie is beautiful
 

Pig_mum

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Your little one is a beauty.

Please sit it out!

It is very normal to emphatically put a youngster at the bottom of the existing hierarchy after they lose their protected baby status once they are weaned. Even mums do it. Dominance with youngsters is generally on the hard, but short side. It is not pleasant to watch; I am always glad when this phase is over.
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Hi Wiebke,

Thanks so much for your advice. I was getting quite concerned, but now I feel much more reassured knowing that it's a normal process. We will be closely monitoring them for the next few days, so fingers crossed!
 

Betsy

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Your new piggie is really a real cutie!:love: Does she have a name yet?
 

David Piggie Lover

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Thanks David! It does seem like a great community on here :)
i joined on a sad note month ago. i lost my piggie. i was strugglin sad. these people for no better reason than Guniea Pigs care love and they been wonderful. This forum are so helpful and knowledgeable. My partner wants to steal your piggie.
 
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